SilexSolar suspends manufacturing, lays off most staff


SILEXSOLAR has suspended all its manufacturing operations, with the PV panel plant placed in care and maintenance mode.

This follows the August 2011 major restructure of the PV panel business, where it embarked on a major cost reduction program, and outsourced cell production to an overseas partner.

According to SilexSolar, the Australian PV panel market has continued to deteriorate, a condition it blamed on the various governments jettisoning their solar panel support policies. Additionally, global PV panels have saturated the market, causing panel prices to fall. The situation was not helped by the high Australian dollar.

The firm says most of its manufacturing employees have been made redundant, along with several engineering, technical and administrative staff.

This announcement came during a Silex Systems operational update, where the Silex group maintained that it is "well placed with sufficient resources to capitalise on the world’s growing demand for energy security and the need to shift to carbon-free alternative energy technologies, such as nuclear and solar, in response to global climate change."

SilexSolar to close down.However, it has also recognised the continued market deterioration in the solar panel sector, and seems to be focusing on other alternative energy technologies, including alternative forms of solar energy harvesting.

For example, it is continuing progress on the Melbourne-based Solar Systems, with product development expected to be complete by the end of Q1 2012. Solar Systems is responsible for the Dense Array Receiver technology, which will be produced in the company’s Abbotsford automated manufacturing facility. That facility is in the final stages of preparation for initial production activities.

Silex also reported on progress for its Mildura Solar Power Station Project, with stage 1 construction expected to be finished by the end of 2012.

The Silex group, through Translucent, is also targeting LED lighting, power electronic and CPV solar cells. That business is based on a Rare Earth Oxide-based silicon wafer platform.

[Images courtesy SilexSolar.]